Coverage of the October 12 Lynch in Ramallah by Italian TV Station
The Government Press Office today (Wednesday), 18.10.2000, has decided
to temporarily suspend the press card of Riccardo Cristiano, the
representative of Italian state television (RAI), in the wake of his
letter to the Palestinian Authority which was published in the Monday
(16.10.2000) edition of Al Hayat al Jedida. Mr. Cristiano has also been
summoned to the GPO where he will be requested to explain his letter.
In the aforementioned letter, Mr. Cristiano declared that he had acted
according to the PA's working rules for journalists. His letter implies
that he will never again film events which are liable to cast a negative
light on the PA, such as the recent lynching of IDF reservists in
Mr. Cristiano also wrote that his competitors in the Italian media are
responsible for broadcasting the pictures of the lynching and thereby
accused other foreign journalists working in the territories.
The State of Israel, as a democratic society, welcomes the foreign
journalists working here and invests considerable effort in both
assuring freedom of the press and assisting journalists in their work.
All that we ask from foreign journalists is that they abide by the rules
of press ethics as is accepted in democratic societies.
On October 12, 2000, two non-combatant Israeli reserve soldiers were lynched and brutally murdered by a Palestinian mob in Ramallah. Both were drivers, one aged 38 and the father of three, the other a 33 year-old newly-wed.
Since this lynching, the official Palestinian broadcasting stations have made every effort to hide the horrible pictures which were shown around the world.
According to reporters' evidence on the scene, not only did the Palestinian police not protect the two men slaughtered while in their custody in the Ramallah police station, but they also tried to prevent foreign journalists in the area around the building from filming the incident.
Despite the attempts to distance reports, an Italian television crew managed to film several scenes.
The following is an ad published in the Al Hayat Al Jadidah newspaper, considered the main newspaper of the Palestinian Authority. The ad, probably paid for, is evidence of the double standard which has come to characterize much of the reporting of the recent violence in the territories.
Note that the brutal lynching is described merely as "the events".
Special Clarification by the Italian Representative of RAI, the Official Italian Television Station
My dear friends in Palestine. We congratulate you and think that it
is our duty to put you in the picture (of the events) of what
happened on October 12 in Ramallah. One of the private Italian
television stations which competes with us (and not the official
Italian television station RAI) filmed the events; that station filmed
the events. Afterwards Israeli Television broadcast the pictures, as
taken from one of the Italian stations, and thus the public
impression was created as if we (RAI) took these pictures.
We emphasize to all of you that the events did not happen this way,
because we always respect (will continue to respect) the journalistic
procedures with the Palestinian Authority for (journalistic) work in
Palestine and we are credible in our precise work.
We thank you for your trust, and you can be sure that this is not our
way of acting. We do not (will not) do such a thing.
Please accept our dear blessings.
Representative of RAI in the Palestinian Authority
(the official Italian station)
Original ad in Al Hayat Al Jadidah: